Economy 1, Environment 0

01 Oct 08
Global warming legislation takes back seat to economy

Congress has been debating a global warming bill that would cap industrial emissions for several years, moving closer with each session to passing legislation. Both presidential candidates have pledged to tackle global warming in the first year of their presidency, (a drastic change from the current administration’s view on the topic) and a democratic majority in the House made passing a comprehensive bill more likely. But commitment to tough global warming legislation has waned in Congress in light of the economic downturn.

The most popular plan of action for curbing greenhouses gases includes a cap and trade system where polluters pay for permits to pollute our atmosphere. The system would make clean industrial practices cheaper than the current global warming inducing practices. But with the economy in the tank, Congress might scrap the cap and trade scheme altogether. Rick Boucher, a democratic Congressman from Virginia, told the Associated Press that a bill that would give polluters permits for free would be preferable to the pay to pollute cap and trade scheme.

Barack Obama supports the cap and trade system, promising to use the revenues to fund alternative energy programs. Across the pond, the European Union’s Environmental Chief said the EU’s tough climate plan will help bolster the EU’s economy, not hinder it. The environmental chief said moving to a low carbon economy would create new jobs while protecting Europe from volatile oil, gas, and coal prices.

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